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NAICS Code 101: All You Need to Know About NAICS Codes (2023)

Naics code

This article will discuss everything you need to know about the NAICS Code.

President Harry Truman established the General Services Administration (GSA) in 1949 to streamline the federal government’s purchasing and administrative activities, thereby lessening the administrative burden on federal agencies. Having a “small business” designation can help you promote and sell new federal contracting possibilities.

Notably, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sets annual goals for the percentage of budget spending dedicated to small business contracts. As a result, it is vital to determine whether your organization qualifies for small business set-aside contracts, which you may accomplish using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

NAICS codes are a six-digit standard that government agencies use to categorize business premises to collect, tabulate, present, and analyze statistical data on the US economy.

They are classified by industry according to the processes involved in producing goods and services. They are self-assigned, enabling GSA Schedule contractors to select the code that most accurately describes their primary industry in the System for Award Management (SAM).

GSA contractors use NAICS codes as they can utilize them to locate business prospects, especially if they get categorized as small businesses.

What is NAICS Code for Small Businesses?

As previously stated, NAICS is a six-digit classification system used throughout North America to categorize businesses based on the primary type of work they conduct.

The Small Business Administration uses NAICS codes for a variety of purposes. Still, one of the most essential is to set size standards for enterprises to be labeled “small” to qualify for different small business-related programs.

Size criteria in some businesses are determined by gross receipts, whereas others get determined by the total number of personnel. You will also notice that the sizes vary tremendously.

Here are some examples of why your company’s NAICS number may be useful:

  • To bid on both state and federal government contracts and grants;
  • To qualify as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), you must meet the SBA’s size standards for your NAICS code and get certification for only your specific code/s;
  • To obtain SBA certification;
  • To establish a Veteran-owned Small Business (VOSB) or a Service-disabled Veteran-owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certified by the VA;
  • To obtain certification as a Woman-owned Small Business (WOSB); or You can use it to compare your business to similar businesses when asking for commercial financing.

How do I Find my NAICS Code?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was designed in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, in use since 1937.

When enterprises get classified by type, the NAICS codes get used. This option allows data for businesses in North America, such as the United States, Mexico, and Canada, to be presented and analyzed in a standardized manner. Every five years, codes get evaluated to verify that they are still relevant, accurate, and up to date.

NAICS codes can be as long as six digits. Generally speaking, the higher the number of characters in a code, the greater the level of specificity in the business classification. The following is the meaning of the digits in the code:

  • Digits 1-2: Economic Sector
  • Digit 3: Economic Subsector
  • Digit 4: Industry Group
  • Digit 5: NAICS Industry
  • Digit 6: National Industry

A company’s NAICS code is assigned depending on the major business activity in which the company engages. Here are various methods for finding or determining the code:

United States Census Bureau

You can find the NAICS code of a company or industry by visiting the North American Industry Classification System page of the United States Census Bureau.

In the search box for the 2022 NAICS Search, type in a keyword that characterizes the firm or industry. For example, say you are looking for the code that applies to Starbucks, you could add coffee or coffee shop as keywords in your search.

After that, you will see a list of codes related to the keyword you input. You can find more information on the types of business activities categorized under each code by clicking the code itself.

UMGC Library Database

You can also find a company’s NAICS code by searching for the company in one of the following UMGC Library databases and on the free web.

Business Insights: Global

In Business Insights: Global, go to the database’s home page and type the name of a company into the search box there. On the company overview page, you will find a list of the key industries affiliated with the company and the code for each sector listed on the page.


Enter the name of a company in the small search box at the top of the database’s main page to begin your search in Hoovers. On the company’s summary page, below the business description, you will discover a section labeled “Industry,” which contains the primary SIC and NAICS codes linked with the organization.

Mergent Online

Enter a company’s name in the search field in Mergent Online. You will see entries near the top of the company overview page that list the important SIC and NAICS codes linked with the company.

Nexis Uni

Click the menu link near the upper left-hand corner of the database’s home page in Nexis Uni, then Company Dossier. Then, in the search field, type the name of a corporation. The company’s primary SIC and NAICS codes get listed on the company overview page.


The Small Business Act established size guidelines for NAICS codes to assist firms in obtaining their designation and identifying relevant prospects.

In GSA contracting, the “Small Business” label is a crucial one to remember.

There are numerous reasons why a business owner could require a NAICS code. Knowing your code can make locating and applying for government grants and other incentives easier. Many firms also use NAICS codes to identify upstream suppliers and downstream markets.

As a small business owner, you have access to various tools, initiatives, and resources. Finally, the Small Business Administration makes it straightforward for business owners to understand their size requirements. Therefore, make use and take full advantage of the resources available and do not miss out on potential set-aside opportunities.

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